Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rural sports at Sikkim festival

Rabong, Aug. 27: Sporting activities ruled the roost at this South Sikkim town on the second day of Pang Lhabsol today.
The three-day festival is unique to Sikkim and is observed to pay obeisance to Mount Khangchendzonga, the guardian deity of the state. It also commemorates the signing of the blood brotherhood between the Lepcha chief Thekung Thek and his Bhutia counterpart Khye Bhumsa in the 8th century with Khangchendzonga as witness.
In Rabong, the festival is being held for the 24th year in a row and the occasion is used to promote rural sports along with the traditional and religious aspects of the festival. Even senior citizens and women avail of a chance to participate in the various rural sports organised by the Pang Lhabsol Celebration Committee.
The participants took part in tug-of-war, bamboo-pole climbing, pillow fights, musical chairs, balloon fights, cock fights and sack race.
“Besides the religious ceremonies, we organise activities for the promotion of rural sports which is losing out to other games,” Y.C. Bhutia, a senior member of the organising committee told journalists.
The other big attractions are the volleyball tournaments. While one is an intra-Sikkim tourney, the other is a national-level meet with cash prizes and trophies. Some of the best national players including Arjuna awardees and members who have represented the Indian and Nepali sides in international matches descend on Rabong for the meet.
The three-day festivities will come to an end tomorrow at the Mane Chokerling complex here.
The highlight of the celebrations tomorrow is the Pangtoed Chaam, the warrior dance to be performed on the final day. Pangtoed Chaam is the manifestation of a dream by the fourth ruler Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal in the 17th century and was later choreographed by him.